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Deaths, severe reactions after DTP not due to vaccine, says study team. Adverse reactions in Kazakhstan.
VACCINE AND IMMUNIZATION NEWS. 1996 Jun; (1):1-2.Kazakhstan's ministry of health recently notified UNICEF of the deaths of 4 children under age 6 months which occurred within 24 hours to 6 days following immunization with diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine. Thinking that the vaccine may have caused the deaths, the ministry was considering halting its national children's immunization program. Within 1 week of the report of the third death, a joint WHO-UNICEF team of experts arrived in Kazakhstan to investigate. Although the team strongly suspected that the deaths were due to defective vaccine, vaccination was quickly ruled out as the cause of death due to a number of reasons. The WHO-UNICEF team instead believes that failure to observe proper immunization procedure may have caused the deaths. Visits to 2 health centers in which 2 of the children were immunized produced no evidence in support of this latter hypothesis. Kazakhstan officials also reject poor immunization practices as a possible cause. Kazakhstan's ministry of health plans to investigate all of the cases, while WHO and UNICEF have recommended a review of the national immunization program and are waiting to see if the recommendation is followed up.
Oxford, England, Oxford University Press, 1996. 103 p.This special issue on the state of the world's children commemorates the 50th year of UNICEF. Three main topics are addressed: 1) an anti-war plan and protection of children in armed conflict; 2) a review of 50 years of UNICEF activities directed toward improving child welfare and health; and 3) for each of 150 countries, a statistical compendium of basic indicators of child health, nutrition, education, demography, economic conditions, and women's status. For 40 less populous countries, some basic indicators are compared. The final country-specific table presents measures of human development (the under-five mortality rate and total fertility rate) for 1960, 1980, and 1994 and the average annual rate of reduction during 1960-80 and 1980-94, and required during 1994-2000. Regional summaries are presented in a separate table for the same indicators in the country-specific tables. Chapter I describes the effects of war on children that includes "children thrown into mass graves, wandering without parents, or wasting away in refugee camps." Chapter II delineates the response to the needs of children over a period of 50 years and addresses issues such as violence against children, poverty, and hunger. Child mortality rates have dropped by about 50% and basic immunization has saved many millions of lives. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was ratified by 179 countries by September 1995. UNICEF believes that the gap between rhetoric and reality presents a challenge for the future and that peacemaking and care efforts have accompanied the tragedies. Today's disputes are viewed as struggles for resources and survival that require an investment in the physical, mental, and emotional development of children. UNICEF's anti-war agenda includes removing child soldiers from battlefields, banning the manufacture of anti-personnel land mines, establishing zones of peace for children, and other preventive actions.